If you ask any audiophile what headphone type they prefer to use for an extended listening session, I can almost guarantee they will say that open-back headphones are the better choice. Open-back headphones enable air to circulate around the ears and allow heat and sound to escape so that music sounds so much better, even for extended listening sessions. Open-back headphones just feel more natural and comfortable.
Most open-back headphones use higher quality driver units and so they usually cost more than closed-back headphones. Open-back headphones do let in more sound as well as letting the music escape. For this reason, they are best kept for use in a quiet listening environment where no one else is around to be annoyed by the sound of all that music escaping from the ear cups.
Sennheiser is probably one of the best-known names in headphones and the company knows its market well. It realises that there are a lot of people who would like to upgrade to a pair of open-back headphones but who may not have the budget for a good pair. Sennheiser’s brand new HD 560S headphones are aimed squarely at this market and they are perfect for analytical listening sessions and come at an accessible price point.
Sennheiser claims the HD 560S have a natural and accurate reference sound and can open up music to reveal bags of detail in the recording. Their sound is underpinned with extended low frequencies that enable the listener to feel the music and yet hardly feel as if they are wearing a pair of headphones when listening to them.
The HD 560S are tailor-made for listeners who want to hear all the fine details that are there in a good recording, especially if you’re listening to a Hi-Res streaming service like TIDAL or Qobuz. The aim of the HD 560s is to reveal the music as it was intended to be heard when the track was first laid down in the studio by the musicians and recording engineers.
The open-back HS 560S use drivers that have been specifically tuned to accurately reproduce music. The open-back earcups let sound waves propagate naturally because the music isn’t trapped within a closed earcups. The drivers are set at an angle so that they can recreate the optimal triangular listening position provided by a regular loudspeaker setup. This arrangement produces a wider and more articulate soundstage that focuses the sound.
With a frequency response that ranges from an incredibly low 6 Hz, all the way up to a very high 38 kHz, the HD 560S can reproduce the entire frequency range of a piece of music and there’s superb low-frequency extension. This bass response enables the headphones to reproduce the complex bass sounds found in modern music. At the same time, a sensitivity of 110 dB/1V and low total harmonic distortion of less than 0.05% at 90 dB means the dynamic range of the music is much higher and clearer, even at higher volume levels.
Long listening sessions are only really enjoyable if the headphones you’re wearing are comfortable. Preferably, you should hardly know you are even wearing them. The HD 560S have an ultralight chassis that means they feel exceptionally light and that means longer and more comfortable listening sessions. The ventilated earcups mean your ears remain cool at all times. The HD 560S are. Fitted with velour earpads that are soft and they don’t make your ears sweat, as vinyl-covered earcups can.
Because today’s music lovers often use a range of sources for listening to music, Sennheiser has developed a special voice coil for the HD 560S so that they can work with a wide variety of audio systems. An impedance of 120Ω means the HD 560S can be used with virtually any audio source, including portable devices. For maximum versatility, the HD 560S has a detachable 3-meter cable, a 6.3mm jack, and a 3.5mm adapter fitted with a flexible 15cm lead.
Pricing and availability: The Sennheiser HD 560S open-back headphones will be available from 24 September for $199.95 / £169 / €199
More info: www.sennhesier.com